Cyclone Empire (2013)
All praise must go to these guys who, in 2012, changed their moniker slightly with respect to the American doom metal band Pentagram. I guess Pentagram is a relatively common name in metal circles, but these crazy Chileans are far removed from the doomy plod of other veterans.
Pentagram Chile has been around for several decades, forming in 1985. However, despite their debut demo emerging in 1986, The Malefice is, incredibly, their debut full-length opus.
Like a lot of bands, these guys vanished in the early 90s. Now they’re back though, and to make up for lost time they’ve put together a snarling, spitting 17-track affair that still has one foot in the 80s – and that’s no bad thing. Leader of the pack Anton Reisenegger is clearly still influenced by the demonic sounds of Venom and Possessed, Venom; his vocals come from the same fiery dungeon occupied by those classic 80s metal acts.
Pentagram Chile have obviously moved on since those primitive times however, The Malefice attempting to combine the rawer methods employed back in the 80s with modern dynamics, the result being a rather lethal dose of blackened thrash. This is also aided by another original member, guitarist Juan Pablo Uribe, whose sordid guitar sound compliments Reisenegger’s equally spiky cacophony.
The Malefice is a nasty little record that leaves a huge black oil stain on the carpet due to its putrid stature. You can tell these guys have been on the metal circuit for aeons such is the brooding arrogance of tracks like ‘La Fiura’ – a deeply satanic number that combines the rusty dynamics of Venom with the brutal blitz of old school Sepultura.
The band really are a tight unit; Reisenegger and Uribe are supported by the unholy union of several guest bassists including Mauricio Peña, brother of original Pentagram bassist Alfredo Peña (who committed suicide in 1990), and drummer Juan Pablo Donoso. As a combined force, they make Pentragram Chile one of the best old school metal bands on the planet.
For those of you so desperate to get an insight into an era when you wasn’t born, then The Malefice is the perfect peephole into such foggy chambers. Firstly, there is the horrendous strain of ‘The Apparition’; reeking of old Slayer, Whiplash et al, it blends nasty riffs with pacier flesh-ripping segments. On the other hand, ‘Horror Vacui’ is a straight-up thrasher; going for the jugular, it pierces the vein with its spiky vocals and well-oiled riffs.
Elsewhere, Pentragram Chile removes the scalp with the pure Slayer stylings of ‘Spontaneous Combustion’, and then eliminate the ears with the chugging ‘Sacrophobia’. Meanwhile, the bass-lead plundering of ‘Prophetic Tremors’ burns the corpse and features an incredible twisted riff and ominous drum.
Those fortunate enough to pick up the double CD package will be treated to a number of re-recorded versions of older tracks, and it’s fair to say that all of these have maintained their evil aura – probably due to the fact that, as previously mentioned, two of the original band members remain.
However, The Malefice doesn’t just exist as a magical history tour. Instead, it stands proud as a separate entity; the outing is a beast so smug in its ungodly aura that you’ll be wondering why on earth you hadn’t succumbed to Pentagram Chile all those years ago. If you weren’t lucky enough to have heard these guys on the underground grapevine the first time round, then let this scintillating yet obscure sounding leviathan be your guide to the dark side.
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